The World

Monday-Friday, 7pm
  • Hosted by Marco Werman

The World is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe, hosted by Marco Werman.

The young man holds the piece of paper up over his head, facing a crowd on a Chicago sidewalk, his brow furrowed underneath a white headband bearing “ROHINGYA” in bright red letters. On the paper, there are two pictures: one of an elderly man with an orange beard, sitting stoically for the camera in a white robe. The other picture: a charred body.

“This my father,” he screams toward a stream of pedestrians, many of whom don’t look up. His voice cracks and his bottom lip quivers. “They kill him. I have proof.”  

In the summer of 1942, the SS Drottningholm set sail with hundreds of desperate Jewish refugees, en route to New York City from Sweden. Among them was Herbert Karl Friedrich Bahr, a 28-year-old from Germany, who was seeking entry to the United States.

When he arrived, his story was much like his fellow passengers: As a victim of persecution, he wanted asylum from Nazi violence.

Here's an explanation about why there's a backlog of immigration cases

Oct 5, 2018

The recent wave of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border tests any already overwhelmed US judicial system.

There’s a push by Washington to send one clear message to Central American families wanting to migrate here: Don’t come.

Or, at least, don’t believe what all the smugglers promise.

“You will not get papers to allow you to stay, and you are putting yourself and your children in grave danger,” Gil Kerlikowske, head of US Customs and Border Protection, said during a press conference earlier this month.

“My heart shivered,” says Martins Akinbode-Busayo, 35, a Nigerian health worker who fled his country in 2015. His government targeted him for helping gay people access HIV treatments.

In 2014, Nigeria passed a law that criminalized not just homosexuality, but also the organizations that support gay people. He applied for asylum in New York last year, and is awaiting the outcome of his application. But he felt despair after Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

It’s a trope to say America has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. This is only partially true. It also has a long tradition of treating immigrants with open discrimination and even violent hostility.

The current debate over whether to accept Syrian refugees has echoes of a different time when another wave of people were leaving a Mediterranean country. They were seen by some Americans as being so alien in religion, culture, education, politics and law, that they could never be assimilated. They were even suspected of ties to terrorism. These were the Italians.

It’s been 10 years since Anna Takada was in sixth grade, but she still remembers her history class. The World War II imprisonment of her grandfather and nearly 120,000 others with Japanese heritage merited only a few lines in her textbook. And at school, her teacher skipped over those lines.

“I remember being shocked and hurt how it was glossed over,” Takada, 25, says.

At home, her father, who was born in Chicago where his family resettled after incarceration, told Takada not to ask her grandfather about that time in their family’s history, either. And she didn't. 

This underground railroad took slaves to freedom in Mexico

Oct 4, 2018

Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign that he wanted to keep “bad hombres” out of the country. He told the Mexican president, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press, that he wanted Mexico to stop "bad hombres down there" from coming across the southern border of the US.

In the summer of 1966, hundreds of farm workers in Texas marched from Rio Grande City to Austin — almost 500 miles over 90 days — to demand change.

They weren’t asking for anything fancy. They wanted better wages, restrooms and uncontaminated water for the people cultivating and picking melons and other crops.

There’s a remarkable picture that’s been making the rounds on the web recently.

You may have seen the shot: it’s of a group of medical students and they’re all women.

One’s from Japan, one’s from India and the third from Syria. They’re all wearing traditional clothes from their home countries.

Nothing too remarkable in that, you might say. Until you see the date.

1885.

These women were students at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP).

How amnesty gave a 100-year-old woman a new life in the US

Oct 2, 2018

My great-grandmother became an American citizen at the age of 100.

Before she was here illegally just as an estimated 11 million others live today. Her chance to legalize her status came in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, or as Spanish speakers know it, "la amnistía."

How do you explain immigration law to a fifth-grader?

Oct 2, 2018

The challenge: Bring immigration law to life for a room of fidgety fifth-graders.

Specifically, I need to bring it to life for fifth-graders who have already heard from a dozen other parents on Career Day in May — including an actual rocket scientist. I am an immigration lawyer and professor. The room is warm, and the kids sit at their desks, sets of four scattered around the room. The looks on their faces are tired and skeptical. My daughter at her desk is alternately hopeful and nervous that I will embarrass her.

My plan? Talk about Pokémon.

The Rules

By 2020, every high school student in California’s public and charter schools will be able to take at least one ethnic studies class.

It’s thanks to a bill that California state Rep. Luis Alejo and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. In doing so, they joined the ranks of educators, students, activists and elected officials who have pushed for courses that better reflect America’s changing demographics.

It’s the final countdown until the Republican Party chooses its candidate for President of the United States and, even with a running mate named, it feels like a lot is still up in the air.

After the death of Alton Sterling — and Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin and all the other people of color recently killed by police — many questions will likely go unanswered.

Muslims have been coming to the US for centuries, but you wouldn’t know it by the intense debates that continue to surround the movement of Muslims across international borders.

Kentucky's current political office holders are not necessarily kind to the nation's newcomers. Before Matt Bevin entered the governor's mansion, he joined the chorus of Republican governors who claimed they'd refuse the resettlement of Syrian refugees after last November's terrorist attacks in Paris.

When 10 athletes from four war-torn countries stepped onto the floor of Rio’s Maracanā Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics, they made history. Never before has a team of refugees participated in the games.

It’s not hard to imagine the millions of people in refugee camps around the world today cheering them on. There’s a good chance many of them are athletes themselves.

It turns out that refugees have been turning to sports to pass the time and cope with the stress of displacement for decades.

Nearly a decade ago, I began a search for a family story that is most often relegated to history books — the journey of a World War II refugee. I was captivated by my maternal grandmother’s search for home and felt certain that her unique narrative was far more relevant than had been recognized throughout my childhood.

John Kerry: 'It is a dangerous time.'

Sep 27, 2018

John Kerry served as Barack Obama's secretary of state for four years.

Before that, he spent five terms as a US senator. He cataloged all that time in a new memoir, "Every Day Is Extra." 

It's from that long vantage point that Kerry looks at the administration of Donald Trump. Kerry says Trump's tweets are crowding out meaningful discussion of the important issues.  

Every day, Brent Olson travels some 20 minutes by train into Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood. He has a degenerative hip disorder and uses a walker to get around. But there’s no way he’d miss this clinic appointment.

“The best decision I’ve ever made in my life was coming here,” Olson said. “I wouldn’t be sitting here talking with you. I’d be dead.”

“Sir, I had not made much of the time through my sickness and I am asking you Sir to grant me the favour of allowing me a little more time to stay here so that I’ll be able to make a little money to carry home not that I am effecting the powers of this country but I am only appealing to you Sir.”

This is how Cecil Roach’s June 1945 letter to US President Harry S. Truman, dictated to an unnamed typist, ends.

Gordon Liu, a 28-year-old office worker in Hong Kong, dashes to a Chinese medicine clinic after work to get acupuncture for his shoulder and neck pain. Liu goes inside a large cubicle curtained off for privacy. He takes off his shirt, lies face down on a bed and an acupuncturist puts needles in points near his shoulders, neck and hands, leaving them in for about 20 minutes.

“Now it feels like my neck and shoulders are more moveable, like they’ve loosened up,” he says.

What I learned from my grandmother’s hands

Sep 26, 2018

It is hard for me to feel connected to my heritage in everyday life. My eyes see a different landscape, my tongue is used to a different language and my hands are familiar with a different kind of work.

My parents are from Huai’an, a city of 5 million in Jiangsu province, eastern-central China. China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with thousands of years of history, culture, art and great empires.

Jane Faye was early in her transition from male to female when she was accosted before entering the women's changing area. It was a Saturday morning, and she was getting ready to step into the pool with her then 5-year-old son. A man appeared out of nowhere and threatened her.

“This man just hogged the way. And said, 'You're not going in there.' And I said, "Why not?" And he just said, 'Well, I'm going to hit you if you do,'” said Faye, who lives north of London. 

Kids shriek with oblivion as they play the “Big Bad Wolf” in one of the many migrant shelters in the dusty border city of Tapachula, Mexico, which has become a hub for Central Americans fleeing their countries. Their parents watch on with concerned faces, trying to map out their next steps.

Maciel García, 25, stands off to the side with her 3-year-old daughter, Kayssee. She’s a shy girl with chubby cheeks who’s grabbing onto her mother’s leg with one hand and holding a small video player with the other, watching cartoons.

When North and South Korean leaders recently held their third summit in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons weren’t the only items on the table.

When Dave McNeer opened Sunday’s Des Moines Register and saw a four-page advertising supplement paid for by the Chinese government, he shrugged it off. The ad provided China’s perspective about the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

Barranquitas, a rural region of 30,000 people in central Puerto Rico, gets its name from the terrain. Barranca roughly translates to ravine or gully, and the steep slopes here meant the area was especially hard-hit by Hurricane Maria.

Countless landslides blocked roads for weeks. Streets weren’t completely cleared of mud and debris until long after green returned to the lush valleys, three months after the hurricane.

“This one just got here in March. She wasn’t enrolled,” says Carlnis Jerry, lifting an eyebrow and nodding her head toward a third-grader who is speaking in Marshallese.

It’s a Wednesday, and Viona Koniske is sitting with her classmate during a “lunch bunch” gathering in a converted supply closet at Parson Hills Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas.

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